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Christmas sales down 18 per cent for GAME

Market decline hits specialist retailer; growth in second hand games offset by console bundle deals on competitive High Street

Specialist retail chain The GAME Group has revealed that sales over the Christmas period were down 18 per cent in the UK and Ireland, for the five weeks ended January 9, 2010.

Total Group sales were down 12.1 per cent and International sales declined 0.9 per cent for the same period.

"The negative trends in the PC and videogames market continued over the key Christmas selling period despite strong software releases and a sizeable installed base of hardware," offered Chairman Peter Lewis.

"This, combined with the strong comparative period and the impact of customers shopping later, resulted in like for like sales declines of 13.8 per cent for the Group over the last five weeks. Since Christmas, however, we have seen significant improvement as customers have responded well to our mint and preowned sales offers and the release of new software."

For the 49 week period ended January 9, total group sales decreased 11.1 per cent, UK and Ireland sales were down 15.1 per cent and International sales dropped 1.3 per cent.

"The Board remains mindful of the uncertain macro-economic environment and the trends in the PC and videogames market. This combination of factors means that revenues are likely to decline year on year but our sales mix will continue to move towards higher margin new and preowned products," added Lewis.

Second hand sales have grown year-on-year, but this has been partially offset by bundling software with consoles in order to compete with rival retailers during December, admitted Lewis.

The company expects profit for the full year to January 31 to be between 87 and 93 million, down from 126.2 million in 2009 but still the second best performance in the Group's history.

Data from Chart-Track yesterday revealed that sales of boxed product in the UK declined 18 per cent in 2010.

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